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Economy

As the sun sets, Venezuela's capital empties

Updated : 2019-04-04 12:31:14

When the sun goes down in Venezuela's capital of Caracas, the once-thriving metropolis empties under darkness. Many street lights don't work. Residents avoid stepping outside their homes due to crime — or for lack of anything to spend — as a creeping economic collapse has accelerated amid a political battle between socialist President Nicolas Maduro and his foes at home and abroad. A string of devastating nationwide blackouts last month dramatized the decay.

A billboard stands empty above a highway with no traffic as the sun sets in Caracas, Venezuela. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
A billboard stands empty above a highway with no traffic as the sun sets in Caracas, Venezuela. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Surrounded by shuttered shops, Rosa Luque hangs a list of her menu's offerings: beef, pork, liver, chicken and meatballs, as she opens her restaurant in Caracas, Venezuela. The sign reads in Spanish:
Surrounded by shuttered shops, Rosa Luque hangs a list of her menu's offerings: beef, pork, liver, chicken and meatballs, as she opens her restaurant in Caracas, Venezuela. The sign reads in Spanish: "Yes there's lunch," and lists prices around a dollar. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Food vendors wait for customers on a darkened street in Caracas. Many street lights don't work after a string of devastating nationwide blackouts last month. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Food vendors wait for customers on a darkened street in Caracas. Many street lights don't work after a string of devastating nationwide blackouts last month. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
The Spanish words
The Spanish words "It rotted" covers a closed shop in Caracas. Many storefronts in Caracas are graffiti-scrawled security doors chained shut. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
A food vendor waits for customers in Caracas. Residents avoid stepping outside their homes due to crime, or for lack of anything to spend, as a creeping economic collapse has accelerated amid a political battle between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his foes at home and abroad. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
A food vendor waits for customers in Caracas. Residents avoid stepping outside their homes due to crime, or for lack of anything to spend, as a creeping economic collapse has accelerated amid a political battle between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his foes at home and abroad. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
An ice-cream shop sits empty in the La Mercedes neighbourhood of Caracas. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
An ice-cream shop sits empty in the La Mercedes neighbourhood of Caracas. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Used shoes and cell phones fill a wall at a market set up by residents under a road bridge in Caraca. Residents desperate for cash transform patches of the sidewalk into their impromptu shops, laying out old shoes or second-hand shirts as merchandise. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Used shoes and cell phones fill a wall at a market set up by residents under a road bridge in Caraca. Residents desperate for cash transform patches of the sidewalk into their impromptu shops, laying out old shoes or second-hand shirts as merchandise. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Used clothing hangs for sale at a market set up by residents under a road bridge in Caracas. The country depends on a collapsing oil sector and on remittances sent home by the millions who have fled Venezuela's growing hardship. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Used clothing hangs for sale at a market set up by residents under a road bridge in Caracas. The country depends on a collapsing oil sector and on remittances sent home by the millions who have fled Venezuela's growing hardship. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Surrounded by shuttered storefronts, Junior Carmona works inside his leather repair shop. A creeping economic collapse has accelerated amid a political battle between socialist President Nicolas Maduro and his foes at home and abroad. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Surrounded by shuttered storefronts, Junior Carmona works inside his leather repair shop. A creeping economic collapse has accelerated amid a political battle between socialist President Nicolas Maduro and his foes at home and abroad. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
A man walks past shuttered stores in Caracas, early evening Monday. The opposition blames Venezuela's economic crisis on years of corrupt leadership, lack of investment and economic bungling that has left the country dependent on a collapsing oil sector and on remittances sent home by the millions who have fled the growing hardship. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
A man walks past shuttered stores in Caracas, early evening Monday. The opposition blames Venezuela's economic crisis on years of corrupt leadership, lack of investment and economic bungling that has left the country dependent on a collapsing oil sector and on remittances sent home by the millions who have fled the growing hardship. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
A man lines up used batteries in an attempt to sell them, at a market under a road bridge in Caracas. Desperate for cash, residents organized themselves about eight months ago to sell used items under the bridge. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
A man lines up used batteries in an attempt to sell them, at a market under a road bridge in Caracas. Desperate for cash, residents organized themselves about eight months ago to sell used items under the bridge. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Images of President Nicolas Maduro, right, and his predecessor, late President Hugo Chavez, cover a building in Caracas. Maduro blames Venezuela's declining economy on his domestic political opponents and the increasing grip of US economic sanctions he says are part of a coup aimed at toppling his socialist government. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Images of President Nicolas Maduro, right, and his predecessor, late President Hugo Chavez, cover a building in Caracas. Maduro blames Venezuela's declining economy on his domestic political opponents and the increasing grip of US economic sanctions he says are part of a coup aimed at toppling his socialist government. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Used shoes for sale are displayed on the sidewalk of a graffiti-filled street in Caracas. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Used shoes for sale are displayed on the sidewalk of a graffiti-filled street in Caracas. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Garbage lays scattered on the pavement in Caracas. The poor and hungry scour through household trash, scattering it across street corners before it's collected, grabbing anything they can use or eat. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Garbage lays scattered on the pavement in Caracas. The poor and hungry scour through household trash, scattering it across street corners before it's collected, grabbing anything they can use or eat. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
The moon rises above an empty avenue in Caracas. Residents avoid stepping outside their homes due to crime, or for lack of anything to spend. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
The moon rises above an empty avenue in Caracas. Residents avoid stepping outside their homes due to crime, or for lack of anything to spend. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
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